Long ago, motherhood -- womanhood -- was a community affair. Pregnancy, childbirth, nursing; these things were not so cloaked in mystique and taboos in past generations. There was support, practice, experience that came with being one of many women living in close quarters. Much of that is lost in our society, or at least it can be. Motherhood can be a time of tremendous isolation, since most of us live miles from our families and friends. I am so deeply grateful for the online communities I have found to give support and encouragement, answer crazy questions, and laugh and cry with me. I am grateful to be able to connect with women who completely understand when I talk about erratic sleep schedules, nursing marathons, and the fact that, to my dismay, my house looks nothing like what I see on Pinterest.
Motherhood is still a community, albeit more Jetsons than tribe. This morning I had coffee with my mom via videochat. We showed each other the progress our seedlings have made, watched my daughter wiggle and squeal, and lamented the caprices of late spring (Michigan got snow again!). Later we went to a bakery to spend time with several other moms and babies Anne's age, whom we met through Meetup.com. While we rocked to sleep at naptime this afternoon, I checked the moms' groups I'm a part of on Facebook, commiserating, praying, and sharing what little advice and experience I've gained in five short months. I checked Twitter for updates on a new baby in the NICU, offered encouragement and more prayers. This may look very different than it used to, but it is essentially the same. I'm grateful for all my little tribes of mammas, living the joy and struggle of raising these tiny people together.
This recipe is adapted from Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Every Day, a fabulous book full of unusual and inspiring vegetarian dishes. The original recipe calls for bananas and huckleberries (which, incidentally, I've never had!). I was craving rhubarb crisp, but looking for something a little more wholesome and substantial that could be eaten for breakfast, guilt-free. Rhubarb probably won't be at the local markets for another month or so, but I cheated last year and froze some. How wonderful it was to look in the back of my freezer and pull out the gift of spring a few weeks early! This would work with any fruit you have on hand; apples, pears, or berries would be lovely. Let me know what you try!
Baked Rhubarb Oatmeal
4 cups fresh or frozen rhubarb, chopped
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1.5 teaspoons cinnamon
2 cups milk
1/4 cup honey
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons melted butter
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and arrange a rack in the top third of the oven. Butter the inside of an 8-inch square baking dish (or equivalent). Mix together the oats, half the walnuts, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl whisk together the milk, honey, egg, vanilla, and butter.
Arrange the rhubarb in the dish and sprinkle the sugar over. Toss the rhubarb a little to evenly distribute the sugar, but not too much; you don't want all the sugar to go to the bottom. Spread the oat mixture evenly over the top. Slowly pour the milk mixture over the top, and thump the pan on the counter gently to evenly distribute the milk through the oats. Sprinkle the remaining walnuts on top.
Bake for 35-45 minutes, until golden and set. Serve warm.